Abrasive grit, applied at high pressure and directed at plant base, can control weeds and increase yield. We evaluated fertilizer [pelletized turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) litter] and non-fertilizer [walnut (Juglans regia) shell] grits for maize and soybean in-row (IR) weed management. Grits were applied at V1 and V5 of maize, and V1 and V3 of soybean. Between-row weed cultivation was done alone (BR), or in combination with grit (I/B), after grit application. Small weeds (<4 cm) were controlled after grit treatment, but, larger broadleaf weeds, grass weeds (treated when growing points were below ground), and later emerging weeds resulted in IR weed biomass similar between season-long weedy (SLW) and IR treatments by August. In maize, fertilizer and nonfertilizer I/B treatments averaged 44 and 14% greater yields, respectively, than SLW (p<0.01) but each was similar to BR which averaged 23% greater yield (p=0.63). Maize grain had 16% higher N content in the fertilizer I/B treatment than SLW or nonfertilizer I/B (p<0.003). In soybean, I/B increased yield by 17% (p=0.009) over SLW yield, but was similar to the BR increase of 22% (p=0.13). Maize had a greater positive response to fertilizer than nonfertilizer grit, whereas soybean was less influenced by I/B treatment.
Part of the book: Physical Methods for Stimulation of Plant and Mushroom Development